County supervisors Tuesday honored Jim Ventress, the outgoing chief professional officer for Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley, Tuesday for his 29 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley.
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“He’s led by example,” said Bryan Lake, the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley director of administration. “He has shown how much he cares and has shown us how we should be caring for the kids.”
Ventress has been instrumental to the growth of the Santa Clarita organization, Lake said.
When Ventress first moved to the Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley in 1985, there were 600 members. Today, the organization serves more than 2,000 children.
He is also responsible for the creation of the Newhall Clubhouse, which has attracted hundreds of new members and provided a location for various parks and recreation activities, Lake said.
Ventress began his career with the Boy & Girls Club in 1985, when the club operated five satellite locations and served 600 boys and girls.
Through his vision and leadership, the club grew to serve 3,500 boys and girls, developed a $1.2 million, 20,000-square-foot clubhouse at Newhall Park and a $6.2 million, 27,000-square-foot clubhouse at Sierra Vista Junior High School, according to county Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who presented Ventress with the recognition.
“Los Angeles County appreciates Jim’s leadership and service to young people in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Antonovich said.
“Jim has dedicated his life to our valley’s children and families,” said Diane Fiero, Boys & Girls Club of the Santa Clarita Valley governing board president.
“With his passionate belief in the Boys & Girls Club of America movement, positive regard for the kids, devotion to making sure they have a safe place to go filled with sports, arts, leadership opportunities and a focus on academic achievement and healthy lifestyles, he will be nearly impossible to replace,” Fiero said in a previous story. “We will miss him dearly, but he has certainly earned his retirement.”
Ventress leaves behind a legacy of lives changed, from Olympic athletes to those who fondly remember the after-school activities.
When Olympic swimmer Anthony Ervin accepted membership into the Boys & Girls Club Hall of Fame in San Diego recently, he mentioned one of his childhood trips with the Newhall branch of the national nonprofit that has provided before- and after-school programs for decades.
It’s moments like that Ventress enjoys most when looking back on more than 30 years of mentoring.
“(Ervin) had everybody in the audience in stitches and that makes you feel good, too,” Ventress said. “You know they go on with their life (after leaving the club), and you feel like you’re a part of that, and that’s priceless.”
Earlier this year, Boys & Girls Club officials announced Sandra E. Silva would serve as the organization’s CEO.
Silva has previously acted as vice president of membership for Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles and CEO of the Girl Scouts Spanish Trails Council.
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Source: Santa Clarita News